Everyone remembers their very first fashion moment. Mine began in the theatre – the children’s theatre that is. I was in primary school and my class was auditioning for a play. While most of the girls in my class were having tantrums about who would get the star role of the princess, I paid absolutely no attention, I only cared about one thing: the costumes.

While the rest of the girls were elbowing each other to get to the sparkly princess costume, I made my way over to the dress up closet, and began rummaging through the piles of clothes. Time seemed to stand still as I tried on the other costumes that everyone else wasn't interested in, styling and restyling endless combinations, lost in my own world. From that point in my life, if there was any excuse to play dress-up, I was in. For hours on end. My parents watched, their academic ambitions for me ebbing further and further away, as they realised that their daughter's only destiny was the world of fashion.

Fast-forward to adulthood, when fashion finally became my job. After completing my BA in Fashion Design in 2004, and winning a design contest, I joined Hugo Boss‘ first international talent team in Switzerland. This pivotal experience was followed by working with design teams for a number of luxury and fast-fashion brands in Germany, Milan, and later, Spain, where I finally settled.

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No matter what I did, my mind always wandered back to the world of knitwear, which I was first exposed to at Hugo Boss, and mastered during my tenure as senior designer of Women’s Knitwear at Inditex Group. I started at Zara at a time when knitwear was very basic and traditional, encompassing the odd crew neck sweater or cardigan here and there. I wanted to do more. I tried to convince key decision makers to make more total knit looks and eveningwear. I visited factories to assess them for capacity and carry out quality control. Little by little, production was elevated, things changed, and yarn companies started to look to me to lead. Before long, I came to be considered as a knitwear revolutionary within the fashion industry thanks to my bold compositions of novel yarns. Working with a global supply chain of yarn providers, I fell in love with the technical aspect of creating new knit compositions and their many poetic nuances. Each type of yarn can be heavy or feather light and open the door to an entirely new design story. I am fascinated by the rhythm and movement of different gauges, and how each element weaves together to form a naturally beautiful design in its entirety. Finding the right fibers for each message, and building up a library of patterns, jacquards and textures became my design purpose. But a piece of the puzzle still seemed to be missing: Although I had worked with some great brands, and I had the technical know-how, what I needed was artistic direction. And just like so many breakthrough moments, it came unexpectedly on a lazy summer day, last summer.

I had gone to a beach club in Turkey, a trendy one, frequented by people of all ages. My best friend's daughters, aged 18 and 21, had joined us, and as always, we ended up talking about fashion, politely assessing what everyone around us was wearing. The girls remarked that they were bored and uninspired by the local beach style scene, but that they loved the knit dress that I happened to be wearing - a simple piece with considered details. One thing led to another, and the girls pushed me to create my own collection. Inspired by the experience at the beach club, and the strong resort culture I was influenced by when living in Spain and Italy, I decided that I was fated to use my knitwear expertise to create luxury resortwear.

I launched my eponymous label SANGUEL in Paris in 2019, as an ode to warm-weather travel and curating the perfect vacation capsule wardrobe. Despite their being ample resortwear on the market, I felt a niche was missing. My collection is different in that my pieces are practical and multi-purpose. I never liked preparing for a summer trip and having to pack two outfits a day, one for wearing in the day and another at night. While the brand firmly nods at the classic jet-set ethos, it takes inspiration from the way we currently travel right now. I wanted a more fuss free rendition of luxury summer living for the modern woman, so I thought about how I could leverage the sensibility of knitted textiles to create pieces that work seamlessly all the way from from the beach to the restaurant/bar. Reflecting on the fact that also, more than ever, as a consumer, I crave novelty when browsing and love to see pieces mixed together in an unexpected way, I strive to provide this curated sensibility and contrast into my collections so that the consumer is always inspired. I was incredibly proud to debut my first collection at Miami Swim Week in July 2019, followed by New York Fashion Week in September, to high acclaim. Both collections spanned ultra-flattering swimwear, languid cover-ups and elevated kaftans, all defined by distinctive yarns and considered finishes. But they were distinct in mood, and the process of producing the shows reflected my love of all things that are film-like. That early love of theatre. For Miami, my team and I created a softer, more sensual, ethereal take on luxury resortwear. For the New York show, I recreated a flirty, confident 70s mood, inspired by the style icons of the time such as Lauren Hutton, complete with groovy music, fake lashes and big bouncy wigs. I will continue to devote my time to developing my passion for and expertise in knitwear and creating a cinematic take on fashion fused with a lifelong love of travel, to offer something different to today's discerning globetrotting woman. Because as the late designer Kate Spade once said, "Playing dress up begins at age 5, and never truly ends".

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Playing dress up begins at age 5, and never truly ends.